eBay- the original marketplace. Not a place you’d consider selling your handmade items perhaps, but a worthy venture. Maybe you’re a veteran or a newbie – either way there are plenty of ways to help you get more eBay sales.@eBay, a '#vintage' marketplace has evolved and grown and can't be overlooked for selling #handmade. Click To Tweet
Whilst relatively new to the handmade industry, it’s not uncommon (or difficult) to find handmade items of all shapes and sizes on eBay.
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If you’re considering to have a presence on eBay, we encourage you to experiment. The more places that you’re present, the more likely you are to make a sale.
To get started, eBay themselves have a good ‘how to’ guide.
It’s worth reminding fellow sellers that the same rules apply here as they do for most marketplaces.
- Good quality photos– No photos taken with a cell phone. Ideally a DSLR with adequate lighting and clear, neutral coloured backdrops. At very least, a good quality point-and-shoot camera. No cell phones.
- Descriptive descriptions- Describe your products the best way you can. Tell potential buyers how the product feels. It’s very soft for its weight. These emotive words help seal a deal.
Without further adieu, here are our 9 simple tips to help you get more eBay sales!
Don’t try to be the cheapest
eBay has a very large presence in Asia. Asia is the world capital of manufacturing. Because of this, a lot of stores operate as warehouses. Selling on eBay and then posting worldwide from Hong Kong, Singapore or China. As someone who makes unique items with love by hand, you cannot compete on price.
Asian manufacturers are more competitive on price. Because of that, a lot of products have sacrificed quality. This is a card you can play on. It costs money to make something well and this is a selling point of your item. Use that.
Research Similar Items
eBay has a unique tool that separates it from a lot of other marketplaces.
Under the ‘Advanced‘ search tab, you are able to search for listings that have finished – either sold or not.
You are able to search for a listing that has finished but not sold or listings that have finished and sold.
This is a very powerful tool when it comes to doing market research. Reading your competition is essential to seeing how you can have a unique edge over them. Different materials and different processes used to make a product warrant a different price. Alternatively, you can also see products that have successfully sold and which product successfully sell regularly. Finding out why these products sell regularly is part of the fun of eBay!
Know your acronyms
Don’t know your LXBX from your MONMC?
eBay and the community rely heavily on acronyms. Getting to know most of them will help you write more efficient listings.
eBay, like most marketplaces, have an ‘About me’ page that lets you tell your story and show off a bit about who you are. Sadly, a lot of sellers neglect this page.
image thanks to toya1980
This is a great place to also talk about your USP.
USP- unique selling point
As earlier mentioned, eBay is flooded with cheap, mass produced items. You cannot compete with products like that. When you list a book on eBay, the listing usually asks you for an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). A lot of other products also have standardised numbers and code. Your handmade products don’t have this. Therefore, you need to market differently.
Instead, you need to explain why yours is different. Your advertisement should say ‘Buy this product for this specific benefit’. This is old marketing 101, but it works.
Let’s take an example we all know- FedEx.
- FedEx Corporation: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
Comparing your small handmade brand to FedEx may seem a little unfair, but this is an edge that can have a ripple effect on other aspects of your brand. Why are you different? What are you committed to? Why should I buy yours and not your competitors products? Answer these questions and you’re well on your way to a good USP!
Sell for a cause
Working hand-in-hand with a charity is a fantastic way to raise some brand awareness and also help others in need, whoever they may be.
Donating a percentage of your profits to charity is quite simple using eBay as your marketplace.
Play the whole part by getting in contact with the charity beforehand. Take note of current events happening on the calendar (Movember, for example) and find a cause you can relate and cater to. Make some custom products for the cause of that charity- pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness for example.
Partner with the charity, bringing more and more attention to both your brand and the charity. This symbiotic effect will have beneficial effects for all involved!
Bids or fixed price?
An eternal dilemma for all eBay sellers. Do I start my price low at $0.99 and use the cheap price to draw attention (and risk it selling for a loss) or do I sell for a higher fixed price (and risk not selling it at all)?
The low starting price attracts attention- nearly anything for $0.99 is a good buy- but then what if it only sells for a fraction of what it cost me to make? A fixed price runs the other risk – will it sell for what I’m asking?
This situation means you need to do some research. Use the previously mentioned Advanced Search to see what similar products sell for. List items that you already make a large profit on to gauge which prices get the most interesting. Like most things in eCommerce, its all a numbers game!
eBay is unique in many ways. One of those ways is the 2-way feedback system. Both buyers and sellers leave feedback for a transaction.
This means that:
The buyer can explain
- the product being as described
- the accuracy of the photos
- was it worth the price
- the speed of payment
- if the seller was easy to contact
and the seller can explain
- the speed of payment
- the speed of postage
- if the buyer was easy to contact
- if the item was custom made, was the buyer easy to deal with?
This unique concept can be a blessing and a curse. eBay tightly monitors all buyer/seller communication, therefore a lot of disputes are ‘discussed’ offsite on Paypal. If a dispute cannot be solved, it often results in negative feedback being left. Negative feedback can stain a feedback rating and it usually takes a few hundred transactions and 12 months for negative feedback to go unnoticed.
Fees are often a kicker for sellers of all shapes and sizes on eBay. Fees vary from category to category and are dependent on what other features your listing has. Our suggestion is to use this fee calculator and when to make the most of eBays free listing promotions.
eBay is the mother of marketplaces, prevalent in more countries than any other. Because of this reason, we think it is one of the best marketplaces to sell on. A little different with some very identifying features, but with a little research, eBay can be the workhorse of your brand!